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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  January 24, 2014 10:00am-12:01pm EST

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no big deal. but look at how much money off our tax money went to that solar panel company. millions and millions and millions of dollars. millions. host: that is mike in florida. thank you for calling in. ryan's previous will give his speech to the republican national committee -- ryan's paper us --that will be live on c-span2. right now we're replaying the mike huckabee keynote from last night on from yesterday. 10:00 30, the republican national committee begins on
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[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] >> looking and more of our live coverage today, coming up at 10:45, the u.s. conference of mayors winter meeting wraps up with homeland security secretary jeh johnson touching on topics like cyber security. they then hear from house transportation committee bill shuster on efforts to pass a transportation bill in congress.
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also today, live coverage from the and national republican rantstee, remarks from previous. party leaders will vote today to hampshire atopew the primary calendar in 2016 while shortening the time frame for the gop primary process. republican south carolina senator tim scott speaking at the winter meeting. we will have that here on c-span at about 1:15 eastern. senator caroltic moseley braun, and others are planning to attend, well anything but has been extended to president obama, among others. >> no matter what party they belong to, i bet most americans are thinking the same thing right about now. nothing will get done in washington this year, or next year, or maybe even a year after
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that. because washington is broken. can you blame them for feeling a little cynical? the greatest blow to our confidence in our economy last year did not come from the events beyond our control. it came from a debate in washington over whether the would pay its bills or not. who benefited from that fiasco? i talked tonight about the deficit of trust between main street and wall street but the divide between the city and the rest of the country is at least as bad, and it seems to get worse every year. >> watch president obama delivered this year's address. our program starts tuesday night at 8:00 eastern. the responsewed by from the republican chair, cathy mcmorris rodgers.
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the state of the union, tuesday night, live on c-span, c-span radio, and it is unclear whether john kerry will be at next tuesday's state of the union. he is in switzerland for the syrian peace talks. the government running to bolt from those talks. the delegation handing the u.n. an ultimatum, bowing to leave if the talks do not begin by tomorrow. the secretary meanwhile was calling suggestions of disarray in the middle east policies a myth. the secretary met this morning with the israeli prime minister -- about five 90 minutes about 90 minutes. you can hear him speak from davos online coming up at 11:10. we hope to have that for you later in our program schedule. :45, we will hear from
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homeland secretary jeh johnson at the conference of mayors. until then, we will take a look at some of this morning's washington journal. started?bscam get >> it was aimed at low-level crooks who had stolen art securities and as news report indicated, a very well done -- wealthy arab sheik was prepared to buy stolen cds and art and make investments and pay off politicians. and no one at that time ever dreamed that it would result in
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the conviction of six congressmen and a united states senator and a host of lesser officials. host: how did it get to bribery charges? guest: at the core of it was a professional con man known as mel weinberg. he's is played by christian bale in "american hustle." he cooperated in order to get letter charges of fraud. he made it come alive. he could create an illusion that he was working for a very wealthy sheik. he convince people that the sheik had an enormous amount of money to spread around. this was after the boil boycotts by the middle eastern oil producers where oil prices shot through the roof.
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it may in the gulf states quite wealthy. it was not that hard convince people. essentially it was like flies to honey. word got around and the lower- level crooks they were dealing with put them in touch with higher-level people, lawyers with contacts with congressmen and senators, city councilman, the mayor of camden, new jersey. it was a kind of form -- kind of a form of underworld networking. the turning point, the key of that in what turned it from a local sting operation to a national one, was the mayor of camden, new jersey. i thought "american hustle" was a great movie. in the movie he is a trade that
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he is or trade as a reluctant -- he is portrayed as a reluctant. christian bale has to bring them into a meeting. in the end there is a certain amount of sympathy generated for him when he ends up getting caught. in fact, the mayor was about as corrupt as they come in early on he gave the undercover operatives lists of new jersey public that lists of public officials who said they are willing to sell their offices for cash. he was willing to engage in any kind of scheme, from counterfeiting to bribery. at one point he was discussing turning the port of camden into a narcotics entry point. the judge who presided over most of the titles call him a cesspool of corruption. to the operatives, he was a gold mine because he was the one who
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put them in touch with many of the congressmen and with harrison williams, who ultimately agreed to take bribes and use their office to influence to get legislative favors for the sheik and his operatives. that is where i do take issue with the movie. as good a movie as it was, that is not an accurate portrayal. host: you write in a recent piece for "usa today" that the sting was a mix of slapdash improvisation and vaudeville showmanship. was it a sting? were these congressmen and senators set up? guest: they weren't set up in the sense that they were induced
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to engage in illegal acts that they weren't otherwise disposed to do. that is what some of the congressmen assert as the entrapment defense. it is well-established in the law and for many decades that there is nothing improper in law enforcement in setting up an opportunity or a means for a criminal or someone who's disposed to criminal activities to cremate a crime. i think undercover operations play a very important role, particularly when it comes to consensual crimes. by that i mean crimes where there are no victims who can then notify law enforcement. when you talk about highbury, the broad payer and the broad receiver are in it together and they are not going to go and say something terrible has taken place. often the only way you can find out is set up a sting operation,
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undercover operation, participate in the bribery activity, and recorded, which often means you are going to get very reliable evidence. in this case there were audio and video recordings that left no issue about what happened. the issue that came up was were these senators and trapped? when you watch them on the tape, the congressmen comes in and says, let me tell you something simple and short, you guys are going about this the right way. money talks and bullshit walks. another congressmen walked in and said i have larceny in my heart. a third congressmen took the cash, put it inside his inside jacket pocket, patted it down
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and asked the undercover operatives, does it show you go this is not a case where mel weinberg -- does it show? this is not a case where mel weinberg were leading children by throwing candy in there path. these were highly sophisticated politicians. many of them were powerful or in charge of powerful committees. they were used to dealing with strong personalities and saying no to engaging and give-and- take. they could have, at any point, said no. in fact, one or two did. in those instances, they were pretty polite about it and they never reported that they had been approached by an arab sheik who asked them to commit an illegal act. they never went to the fbi.
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compared to the congressmen who did take the money, they became national heroes. some people thought it was a sad commentary. that turning down a broad makes you a hero. host: that was a quote from larry pressler. we want to show you a bit of that hidden fbi video from john murtha. there is some video from the late 70s come and john murtha. [video clip] >> introducing legislation is only legitimate to the guys in your district because otherwise you'd got a real problem. >> he can buy something there.
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talking about a residence of some sort. >> is this commitment -- and business commitment that makes it imperative for me to help him. let me tell you something. there is a lot of things i've done up here with environmental regulations, with all kinds of waivers of laws and regulations, if the district people say that son of a bitch, let me tell you something, this guy is on the take. once they say that, what happens? then they start going around looking for the goddamn oney, so i want to avoid that i haven't some type of distance, that's all. host: grigori wallance, what are you watching there? guest: watching the congressman turned down a bride but doing it in a way that left open the door to perhaps an arrangement of some kind that would accomplish the same objective without being so obvious. ultimately congressman murtha was not prosecuted. but it still nonetheless raises
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some questions. and i am not certain whether he ever got out from under that cloud. but that was an example of how a congressman, if you wanted to, could say no, could decline a bribe, and in the case of the six congressmen who were convicted -- and the united states senator was convicted -- they chose not to do that. they chose it deliberately. and they acted in a way as though -- they did not look nervous. they did not look uneasy. they did not look like somehow there will was being overboard or they couldn't resist, that they were helpless to resist the money. they had a kind of a dignified matter of fact a plum about how they went about taking the money and engaging with the undercover operatives who were very clear in their role as the sheik's emissary that they were corrupt, and they did not look like they were doing this for the first time.
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and i think that is what convinced the jury's they were not being entrapped, which is because they were so comfortable in the way they went about it. i might add that most of the congressman did not insert the entrapment defense, that he did something i was not predisposed to do. one of the reasons i think they didn't tactically go down that road was because in order to assert the entrapment defense, you have to admit you it -- committed the crime. then you say, but i was induced to do it by this undercover agents. so, for a politician holding high office, that is a difficult feat to pull off. so some of them came in with defenses that were -- for example, one claimed that he was conning the sheik, that he never intended to introduce the legislation the sheik was ostensibly paying for.
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another came in and said i was conducting my own investigation and i was getting evidence and i was going to report it to the fbi. and the defenses in some ways was almost as outlandish as the crimes they were accused of. nonetheless, from a prosecutors point of view, the ultimate test is, does a jury believe beyond a reasonable doubt that these individuals are not entrapped and/or they committed the crime. and every jury that listen to the testimony, every jury returned a conviction. and every appellate court who reviewed the fairness of both the investigation end of the trial affirmed the convictions. and that, i think, ultimately was the stamp of approval on abscam, and to my thinking, made it one of the most effective undercover operations of political crime in our countries history. host: what was your role in
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abscam? guest: right after that news report in early 1980 -- and i was a relatively new assistant u.s. attorney -- i was in effect assigned to work as part of the trial team, and i spent the next two years in pretrial preparation. i listened to a lot of those tapes. and then the trials and the appellate process. at that point, i was just a few years out of law school and it was quite an experience to come into that kind of a case and quite eye-opening listening to those tapes and the way people talked when they didn't think they were being watched. host: do you think that staying operations -- do you think the words thing is fair, first of all? -- sting operations. and you think sting operations is a fair way of doing business on the prosecutorial side?
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host:s ting is a euphemism for undercover operation where the operative assumes the role of a criminal in some way. yes, i do think it is a fair way to conduct investigations. after him scam -- abscam, there was another undercover operation in chicago that investigated corruption in the judiciary and used similar techniques, and the result had been the conviction of a dozen or more very corrupt judges. but these operations are not without their risks. and a lot depends on the judgment of the agents and the prosecutors who are handling them. i will give you an example. a sting operation that i think much more than anything that "american hustle" was addressing illustrates the ambiguous, the
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moral ambiguity of some. if you recall, in 1965, after the selma, montgomery, voting rights march, a white woman who was dissipating in the march was shot and killed. that was a huge event and it probably was a there -- very strong consuming factor to the change of the voting rights laws. the man who shot her were apprehended and convicted. why was that? sometime earlier, the fbi had infiltrated an fbi agent, gary, into the ku klux klan in birmingham. and what i described so far sounds pretty good. but while he was part of the ku klux klan, in order to maintain his credibility, he had to both witness acts of violence by the klan and indeed at times participate in beatings.
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he was under orders, under no circumstances was he to initiate or lead such a violent events, but nonetheless, he could not hold back because otherwise he would be found out. that is a sting operation, if you will. where the moral ambiguity is pretty profoundly troubling and one that i don't think we have ever quite come to terms with. i am very glad that the woman's killers were apprehended, but nonetheless, the fbi had to engage into some questionable conduct. host: gregory wallance, former assistant u.s. attorney from new york. we are talking about the abscam investigation of the late 1970's and early 1980's. it's tie into the "american hustle" movie. we will put the numbers on the screen if you would like to dial-in. or you can tweet as well.
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peter is calling from new york. the morning. caller: good morning. with their wallets -- mr. wallance. you have investigated government officials. building seven of the world trade -- host: he is not calling on the topic we are calling on. steve in indiana. please, go ahead with your question or comment about abscam. caller: $9 billion was cut from food stamps, $80 billion was given for bank. my question is, is this because the people with banks could afford to influence congress where's the ones on food stamps had no money?
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host: mr. wallance, if we can take this further, just to talk about congressional influence at this point, is it still possible to connect money to politicians? guest: absolutely. and it is unavoidable. here is the ambiguity that i think abscam revealed, which i think may partly answer the question, which is there is a very fine line between lawful campaign contributions and bribery. and the reason it arises is because politicians are in the business -- that is, legislators are in the business of introducing legislation. perfectly normal. that is what they are expected to do. and they are also in the business of running for office and therefore having to raise money to run for office. and the distinction is this -- a donor may give money to a congressman with the expectation that the congressman will
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introduce legislation that will favor his position, his goals. i the congressman may know that that is why he has been given the money. so far, nothing illegal has occurred. but when the elected official in the donor, the giver of the money, have an express agreement that there is a quid pro quo -- in other words, you give me money, i give you the influence of my office -- then they crossed the line, and that is bribery. and in the examples you are citing, i don't know if that occurred. i can just say generally that there is a perception among the american public -- in fact, a cnn poll indicated 85% just a few years ago of the american public believed that congressmen, legislators are heavily influenced, if not controlled by the people who fund their campaigns.
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this distinction is what abscam was focused on, and when you look at these tapes, when you read the accounts of what the congressman said, there was no question. and that was a real issue for the jury. that they were engaged in quid pro quo. you give me money, i will introduce legislation that would get the chic a visa to live in the united states permanently so he does not have to worry about unrest in the middle east -- would give thesheik a visa. host: a question, why do they call it abscam? guest: initially it was reported was nicely -- erroneously as arab scam and there were protests. in fact it's good for abdul sc am. there were two sheks played by fbi agents and the first one set of abdul enterprises, and
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investment operation in the united states. in the operation became known as abdul scam, abscam. but arab scam stuck in people's mind and it caused a diplomatic event. host: a viewer wants to know via twitter -- can mr. wallance comment on the politicians that refused the money? host: well, yeah, they were corrupt. that was established. it had to be established to convict them beyond a reasonable doubt. but i think there was a range of style and how they approached the corrupt proposition offered by the undercover operatives. i described the ones who were pretty blatant and did not leave a lot to the imagination. but there were others, for example, who were a lot more careful, where he and crafty.
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for example, one congressman was sitting in the hotel room where the videotapes were recording what was taking place with mel weinberg and another fbi agent pretending to be the sheik's representative and they discuss the immigration legislation that they were seeking to have the congressman introduced to help the sheik come to the united states. then they passed across to the congressman issue -- a suitcase of $50,000 in $100 bills. the congressman turned to the lawyer accompanying him and he said, howard, take care of that for me. he was very careful. the issue in his trial was whether he knew what was in that suitcase was packed -- cash being paid in return for his legislative favor. ultimately the jury concluded from all of the circumstances that he had to know that this was cash, and convicted him.
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but i was struck by the range of approaches that the congressman took in dealing with the undercover officer. host: 31 officials targeted. seven convictions, correct? guest: no, i think it was almost every official -- targeted is not quite the right word -- who met with the undercover agents, listened to the illegal proposals and agree to them. virtually all of them were convicted. six congressman, a united states senator, there were three members of the philadelphia city council, the mayor of camden, new jersey, also state senator, and a number of other lesser officials. i can't recall if virtually every jury returned a conviction that the vast, vast majority of them did. host: i apologize. i meant seven from capitol hill were convicted. seven senators and six congressman. how long were they in jail?
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host: they all served jail time and they were in jail for at least several years. host: harrison williams was the sole u.s. senator that got convicted. mr. wallance, why did some non-congressional members in the city councils, etc., get involved in this fbi sting? host: i referred earlier to the network, the outer circle, these low-level crooks who were selling stolen art or stolen cd's who then put the undercover operation in touch with the next level. that was angelo eric hadi and corrupt lawyers in accra city council. they in turn, after satisfying themselves that they were
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dealing with authentically corrupt arab sheik then passed the undercover agent, or set up meetings for the undercover team with the congressman and the senator. it was a network from the outer circles to the inner circles that is what really made abscam so defective. host: a viewer tweets in -- now, we covered a little bit of that but please go ahead and revisit that. again, was there a targeting of specific officials or was this going to be wide open to all 535 members of the congress? guest: that is the good -- a good question. in the first instance, there was no targeting of an official. the undercover operation simply continued -- let's say, when angelo said i want to introduce
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you to a congressman who can help the sheik with legislation, it would have been a dereliction of their law enforcement duties if they said, no, we don't want to meet with them. they had to meet with them. this goes back to what i said. there is nothing wrong with setting up the opportunity or a means for somebody to commit a crime, provided you do not induce them to do something he was not predisposed to do. that is not targeting, that is simply good law enforcement. separately, i think, these congressmen, they set up a ruse. it was as follows. they would meet with the congressmen, have a party somewhere -- or their representatives, the lawyers -- and they sort of explain to them, well, we represent the
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arab sheik. and he is very concerned about unrest in the middle east. and he will like to know that if he needed a haven in the united states, he could come here. we hear that congressmen have the ability to introduce special and -- immigration bills to help just one individual come to the united states. these lawyers, the city councilman, the mayor would say, well, we know someone who can help you. and the undercover agents would say, well, money is no object. they just sat back and the next thing they knew these huntsman would be brought into hotel rooms -- plaza hotel out of kennedy airport or a rented house in washington, d.c., and they would explain -- the operatives would simply explain this is what we would like to do, this is the legislation we need, and the sheik is willing to reward you for this, and then they would pass the money over. that is not targeting.
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i think good law enforcement. as i indicated, all the court that reviewed this agreed that this was appropriate law enforcement conduct. host: ohio. go ahead with your question for gregory wallance. caller: a question and comment. i would like to know those people who were convicted, were they on the democrat majority or bipartisan? host: and what is your comment. caller: my comment is, the level of investigations between democrats and republicans, because i think at that same time, wasn't there an s&l scandal, the investigation did not go very far because not only did ronald reagan have involvement in the s&l kindle but so did george w. bush which cost the american taxpayers 1.4
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trillion dollars. host: thank you, sir. gregory wallance question mark host: well, of the six congressman and the united states senator who were convicted, only one was a republican, congress men kelly from florida. the will rent -- the rest were democrats. but it is too small a sample size to draw any conclusions from. it goes back to a question you asked me that i am not sure -- what would have happened if the investigation had just gone on and on and on. would all 565 huntsman be convicted? i doubt it would involve something like that, but at the same time, the investigation, had it gone on longer, who can say how many more congressman it would have established were corrupt and were predisposed to take bribes? it ended because of the number -- because of a number of factors.
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one was the undercover agents were simply exhausted. they were doing so many meetings, so many bribes, so many discussions, money being promised, so at a certain point it became unwieldy. so they decided to close it down , at least the undercover phase, and then of course there was a leak of a prosecution memorandum and that is what resulted in the television news report that you started the program with. so, we never found out how many were corrupt, how many more were out there just waiting for the opportunity to take a bribe. and it is kind of a lingering question. it is not as though there have not been any incidents of political corruption of both in congress and at the state level since then or in recent years. there have. there have been quite a few incidents.
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but without getting into the organization itself and the undercover capacity, you really can't know. they tend to be a little more isolated. abscam what was unusual because it got into congress, it got behind the scenes, it got behind the closed doors, it showed you what was happening on the fact that these congressman acted so matter-of-factly on the way they want about taking the bribes is troubling, and that is the unanswered western of abscam -- how many more were willing to do that if they were given the opportunity? host: jack tweets in -- looking back, do you feel abscam had any effect, did it in fact change the culture or not? host: i think it had an impact. it was so searing both for congress and the congressmen that it had to have had some deterrent effect. people would be a little more hesitant, i think, to engage with -- at least doing more due
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diligence -- without doing more due diligence than these people did -- with corrupt people willing to pay bribes. at the same time, law enforcement on any level, political corruption -- it is a treadmill. you're never going to eliminate crime, corruption, or dishonesty. so it never totally changes the culture. but i think it is vital to have effective law enforcement. and again, staying operations like this need to be managed carefully with good judgment, and when they are, they play an important role in determining this kind of conduct. it is important at another level which is, you can't have a democracy if your elected officials are corrupt. and so, that's why i think at the end of the day when abscam did was very important in reminding people that we have to be ever vigilant about political corruption. >> do you think that john murtha was guilty?
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guest: i think john murtha is entitled to the presumption of innocence. he was not charged, and therefore beyond that i don't think anybody in law enforcement or former law enforcement should be speculating. host: what did this investigation cost u.s. taxpayers? guest: honestly, peter, i don't know what the figures were. i can tell you that there was a huge battle. the movie kind of god at it -- got at it, between the people running the sting operation who wanted to spend a lot of money to create the illusion of the wealthy sheik. they wanted to have the best rooms at the plaza hotel and all kinds of fancy accoutrements to go with it, versus the superiors in washington cap fighting back saying we've got to live within certain budgetary constraints. it resulted in some almost
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hilarious events. there was one meeting, where perhaps to save money -- and the sheik was present -- perhaps not thinking of through, instead of having lavish spreads with caviar and champagne, the operatives ordered in jewish deli food. that should've put the targets, the crooks they were dealing with, that there is something peculiar. why is the sheik offering jewish deli food to serve his guest. mel weinberg, who was very good at salvaging the situation -- and there were quite a few -- and this is where he was so important to the operation, he would just kind of wave it off and say, hey, look, when he was in the middle east, the sheik cannot eat jewish deli food but he loves it, so when he comes here, he has an opportunity to eat it. saw his people interested in the financial opportunities that
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abdul enterprises was presenting them with just accepted that and never question it. host: walter is calling from st. johns, arizona. hi, walter. caller: good morning, mr. wallance. good to see you on c-span today. i have a two-part question. as we know, on criminals, there is always the dome and the smart. the aspect of targeting, here is a bundle of cash. most of the smart will just turn their back and walk away. the dumb will say, cash, let me run with it. i notice for many a decade, the big money -- talking tens of millions, hundreds of millions of dollars -- changes hands but not in cash, a bribe or to get someone elected, held out as a brown -- they will do it through soft-money. a $5 million piece of property.
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you can buy it for $500,000. we will do it through a hong kong corporation and it will just look like good business and the money is paid out and made that way. on the aspect of getting somebody elected -- there are restrictions on how much you can contribute. i could call up a congressman and sega corporation will spend $300 million will get you in it. we are not going to have any association with your campaign. we can spend as much as we want. there are no restrictions. how actively has your investigation or any investigation looked into the business transactions of congressman to pinpoint those bribes that are taking place where it is a bills -- business deal or soft money being spent based on the conversation. that is how the smart women operates. when it is just cash being handed over, that is the dumb side. if you can address the business
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transactions, real estate transactions, i would love to hear your comments. host: there is a saying, it it isn't what is illegal that shocks you about money and politicians, it is what is legal that is really shocking. i think what you are describing is more on the legal side, the soft-money, loopholes in the election fundraising laws, circumvented, shall we say. certainly the topic of debate. abscam was not targeting and was not looking at soft-money. it was looking, as you put it, at the dumb people, those willing to take cash bribes. although, in one instance, and that was u.s. senator harrison williams, that involved more of the kind of sophisticated schemes that you are raising.
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it wasn't a cash bribe in a hotel room. he and his colleagues, associates, some of whom were notoriously corrupt, had an interest in a titanium mine. titanium is a rare metal, part of the government stockpile. and the senator's interest was actually hidden but they all had this interest in a titanium mine. what developed in a years worth of discussion was the undercover operatives was a proposal that really came from the senator's side that the sheik would invest $100 million in the titanium mine. in return, to assure his investment would be successful, senator williams would use his influence -- and he was a very powerful senator. 13th insecurity at the time. -- in seniority at the time. to get the u.s. government to buy titanium from the mine or
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the strategic stockpile. this went on for a year. and papers were actually drawn up, sort of the process of creating a company that would receive the money from the sheik and so one. there were very elaborate discussions of how this mine would be structure, the ownership. and the senator met personally with the sheik and a short him. he said, well, i am not going to be a senator forever and assured him he would make the venture profitable by using his influence. i know the president, ideal one-on-one with him -- to get contracts to sell titanium to the u.s. strategic stockpile. but again, that wasn't soft-money as you were describing it, not legal soft-money, and it was more in the dumb category although it was a very sophisticated scheme and probably more what a cagey and careful corrupt politician would want to do to try to
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insulate himself as much as possible from charges of bribery. host: how long does senator williams spend in prison? guest: it was several years that he spent in prison. and you know, in this case, bribery. again, the word target keeps coming up. there was not even target. he was introduced to the undercover operatives by mayor ericetti, and his lawyer, another new jersey figure who has been linked to organized crime and corrupt acts with a one-two brought to the attention of the undercover operatives of this titanium mine and indicated the senator had an interest. that is how this whole thing evil. host: mr. wallance, susan jeffries asks -- did anyone offered a bribe take the money
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and immediately turn it into the fbi and report the bribery attempt? host: in a word, no. and neither did those who turned down the bride. in fact, just to go back to senator williams, at one point -- and this was something the defense attempted to use -- at one point in the meeting with the sheik, the sheik offered him something like $20,000 in personal expenses as a goodwill gesture, and williams said, no, no, i don't want to take that. my interest in seeing that this titanium venture succeeds. here is a united states senator, and he has been confronted with an illegal act committed by a representative, a foreigner in the united states, and nonetheless makes it clear he wants to continue doing business .
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and ultimately, with all the controversy that abscam generated come in the end, i think what moved the juries and courts that reviewed the convictions is simply that the american people had a right to expect that their congressman, this senator, their intellect and officials, would not behave in this manner -- elected officials would not behave this manner when confronted with these very corrupt proposals. host: charlie, lanham, maryland. go ahead with your question or comment about abscam. caller: good morning, mr. wallance. i was an auditor working as a contractor with the environmental protection agency. we used your files to go after a bunch of state -- i'm sorry, a bunch of local officials. mr. pahlavi's, mainly in new jersey, connecticut. we got cost recoveries because of your work.
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you guys were looking at 12, 14, 16 different corrupt mayors. i am only interested in local politics, local corruption. anyway, there was an engineer who owns a 250-person firm who was shaking down contractors with change orders on epa work and then he was using those bribes he got from the shakedown -- i am sorry, using the money he got from the shakedown street bribe politicians to get more work. i think he ultimately committed suicide. he was quite a character. host: unfortunately i can't. i think that was an aspect of the case that i simply was not involved in. but what it illustrates was the way that abdul enterprises, these fbi agents and mel weinberg, were able to so effectively network in the
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underworld that the tentacles went out, their shadow, if it were, word of what they were about, spread so wide that they started getting all of these potentially corrupt or actually corrupt politicians or politician representatives or government officials interested in them, coming to them. one of the reasons they became exhausted, is because they were clearly so many proposals, trying to keep that -- track of so many different meetings, and it went on to the point that they just became overwhelmed by it. and that is the unanswered question, which we alluded to earlier. well, if they manage to keep it going long enough, how much more political corruption would have been uncovered? we will never know the answer. host: the result of abscam as far as fbi procedures. what changed?
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guest: well, not surprisingly, there was considerable unhappiness in congress with abscam. now, a number of these congressmen who didn't resign were in effect forced out of congress, cell phone congress. and congress had to address that. but both the senate and the house began investigations and held hearings on the undercover operation and concluded that the department of justice and the fbi needed to tighten control over these kinds of staying operations. and the result was a special level of approval became needed when an undercover operation was going to be focusing on high level officials. and as well, i think it was the case probably all along, there
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couldn't be any targeting without at least focusing on a specific -- or a focusing on a specific official without at least a reasonable suspicion that the official had engaged or was prepared to engage -- had a predisposition to engage in corrupt activities. i think that level of initial suspicion existed in abscam and probably a lot of the undercover investigations that had taken place, but nonetheless this became embedded in the guidelines for undercover operations. so, that was one impact that abscam had. host: and finally, dean tweets in -- could abscam be considered the first sting seen by the public from hidden cameras? host: good question. i think so. certainly up on this scale, the use of videotapes and not been used, to my recollection, in
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such a major operation. and the technology sort of came together and they could put the camera in a room next to the room where at politician was meeting with the undercover team, just through a pinhole. reasonably good by the standards of the day videotape. and of course, the videotapes, the court rooms at the trials, they had 13 television sets. judge, juror, sometimes they have their own tv sets. it was just like a wired courtroom. and it had a huge impact on the jury. but in a certain sense, one impact was abscam was after that, juries, particularly in these kinds of political corruption cases wanted to see the videotapes. and it kind of put a greater burden on prosecutors who did not have videotaped evidence that was so clear to come forward and make the case. now, of course, we live in an
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age where everything is caught digitally on cell phones and so on. almost everything is recorded. but then it was novel in something of a breakthrough. host: mr. wallance, what are you doing today? guest: thanks. i'm in private practice. i represent both defendants in civil cases as well as white-collar defendants, mostly companies caught up not so much in political corruption and other kinds of investigations. and i am pretty much enjoying myself and really have good memories of abscam at the same time. and "american hustle" kind of brought it all back. it was a great movie. i hope it gets the oscar for best picture. and i thought the line in the beginning sums it up that they put on the screen before the movie starts. "some of this actually
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happened." and that was the part that i had the good fortune to be involved with. host: so when you watch "american hustle," what percentage would you say is realistic? >> you can watch "washington journal" every day. the mayors in washington, we will take you to their session this morning. that is kevin strickland, the mayor of sacramento, california. you will be hearing from homeland secretary jeh johnson and later in the hour, bill shuster, the chairman of the transportation subcommittee. that is all coming up on c-span. raise your hand if you, as a city, has some athletes competing in the winter olympics? they are headed off today.
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let's give our olympians a round of applause. [applause] we are going to adjust the program quickly because we have a very important dignitary with us. i'm going to introduce him and invite him up. this person has been a champion for our organization. we are honored to have representative bill shuster, chairman of the house in for trash -- house transportation and infrastructure committee today. [applause] it goes without saying that we all think very highly of you. he is here to talk a little bit about his efforts to increase federal investment in the nation's infrastructure. the chairman travel to vegas to be with us at our annual meeting and is again with us today to show his commitment to the nation's mayors. they are not even in session and he is still here, to be with us to honor that commitment. yourank you so much for
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commitment. his leadership has already produced broad consensus on a major water resource renewal bill, awaiting final congressional action before it is signed into law. the chairman also started hearing on the renewal of the surface transportation law, invited our very own mayor aretion chair read, to participate in hearings last week. we appreciate that. what they are read did was bring our pledge and commitment to work with the chairman to develop additional resources to invest in our transportation and infrastructure. let's give another round of applause to our chairman. come on up. we are glad to have you. [applause] thank you very much, mayor johnson. i played high school basketball and i wish i had a jump shot like he had. i was the muscle guy that pushed
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people around. that served me well in congress, being able to push people around. thank you so much for the introduction. thanks for the opportunity to come back and talk to you. talking to the mayors and getting them on board to help us move significant legislation is extremely important to the effort, which i will talk about. this is a great opportunity for me to be here and talk to you about transportation and where we are going, because all of us in this room know the importance of transportation is essential. louisiana room in the somewhere when a guy was telling me about his business on in the pharmaceutical business, and he had 57 trucks. all of a sudden, he stopped and you could see the lightbulb go off above his head, and he said, i am really in the transportation business, and we all are. every american is. nobody here today can being up
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like in star trek. flew, train,her car, however you got here, the transportation system affected you, and it affects all of us every day. it affects our quality of life, going to see our parents, going to work, picking up the kids from school, the transportation system is essential and critical to the economy of the united states. it is the backbone of the united states and i think all of you here, especially those with big cities that deal with the terrible congestion, you have come to the congestion capital of the world, washington, d.c. saidnsportation institute in a recent study that washington is the most congested city in america. when you travel on the highways here, go between 10:00 and 2:00 so you miss some of that. it is important for us to be competitive in the world to make
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sure that our products that are manufactured in america go into the world economy as the game market share and create jobs at these factories back at home. it appears that manufacturers are starting to come back to america because they understand we have a great workforce, and now we have inexpensive energy. i am proud to say, in pennsylvania, the marsalis shale will help to draw manufacturers back to america, but we have to make sure we can get out to the world economy to get that market share, to make sure we are creating those jobs in america. about the role of government, i believe it is essential, for the federal government, local, something that we have always done, want to have the private sector can -- participate with us. when you look back to the founding of this country, the tipping point was a transportation issue. ,t was around the potomac river
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maryland and virginia could not come to terms on an agreement to navigate the river to go to the western part of maryland and up into the allegheny mountains to get to the ohio territory. they could not come together on it. those folks from virginia, maryland, they realized we had to have a constitution. we had to have a tuition that helped promote commerce and helped connect the country. when they wrote the constitution, the number one responsibility is national security. establishing post roads truly -- and adam smith believes -- plays an essential role for government, to make sure we aren't partnership with states and local governments to make sure we connect the country. president eisenhower said it best, that without the force of transportation, we would be a mere alliance of separate parts.
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connectsportation grid country. it is critical to keeping america prosperous. urceassed a water resor development act. it has been slow going, but i'm confident we will move forward. that deals with inland waterways, ports and harbors. i was able to travel to south carolina, and the mayor was an in talking to us about this. in talking to the mayor of long beach, we talked about the port there. itwe get input from mayors, is critical to helping us develop this bill. we were fortunate to be able to talk to enough stakeholders and get them to talk to their members of congress, so it passed out of the house with 417
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votes. i think we were able to get to the core issues, making sure it responsible, because everywhere we travel, republicans and democrats alike think we have to get this project moving. it is important to me to make sure that congress did not give up its authority to the executive branch. we have done this for far too long, and i am a republican, and i don't care if it is a democratic or republican, the congress needs authority to do things. we are working to the conference right now with senator boxer and senator vitter, and my friend from west virginia, and ranking member, we have been hand in
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hand working on this together. it has been a good part of this year. getting tok of out and from our ports, it is a competitive issue, jobs issue, not just about the jobs created, the construction jobs, jobs are manufacturing, where americans go to the grocery store and are able to pay less for a product there morehey got mor efficiently. when i talk about the long-term important toe so america, making us competitive. another issue is passenger rail. many of you here are connected i rail. -- by rail. it is a process that is taking longer to do, but we are looking way.ansportation in a new we have a national system, but
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ere are places in the country where it makes more sense -- but there are places in the country where it makes more sense to address it. you live in the northeast corridor. i do not, i live in western pennsylvania, but amtrak in the northeast corridor work is the most heavily traveled rail in the country. the rest of the country, we have to deal with freight rail and how we improve passenger rail in their system. we need to take a close look at it, figure out how to do it right, and be able to take it out to those court orders. ors.nd-- corrid southern california is the second most active corridor . how do we improve it? as we improve it, trying to streamline it, getting the private sector involved are
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critical to improving passenger rail service. in addition, i gave a speech in december about the aviation come airline industry in america, 2015 we have to do a reauthorization of the faa administration and all they do. as we look at the aviation industry, the industry over the past couple years, we were under attack from foreign competitors. any factual ring, air carriers are all under attack. carrierscturing, air are all under attack. we need to look around the world to see what other countries are trying to do. canada, their air traffic control organization, it was a -private partnership. they have better equipment than we have. their training is outstanding. their people love working there
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every day. how do they do it? can that work in america? looking at europe, what they are are doing with their airports. public-private art or ships -- is that something we need to do in this country? the chinese, the canadians, are all building small passenger jets, and the chinese are looking to build a larger jet. the faa take so long to approve even smaller debts. we need to make sure we streamline this. you look at aviation, we invented it, it is an american product. we lead the world today, but if we do not do something to make sure we are not nickel and dime in our airlines and over regulating manufacturers, foreign competitors will take away our lead in this. look at the textile industry, the steel industry, auto industry, we used to lead the world am and today i do not know
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if we even produce a textile in america. the auto industry is not what it was 20 and 30 years ago. this is our industry. $1 contributes one dollar -- trillion to the economy. graves, a congressman from missouri, though voice of general aviation, we will bring in stakeholders, and you folks, cities with airports, it is important, a huge chemical generator. we want to talk to the conference of mayors, what the youth think we can do to help create more opportunities at the airports to streamline things. as we go through this process we will reach out to the mayors, and you will play a critical role in what we need to do.
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finally we started -- we had our first hearing on the surface transportation bill, and we are bringing in stakeholders. anybody that is important that thea stake in improving surface transportation, highways, byways, transportation system, we are ringing in those stakeholders in to educate us, as to what they see what reforms need to take place. we did this again just like we did on another bill. we had the hearing, and a mayor was there -- is he here today? he did a fantastic job. on both sides of the aisle, i have numbers coming up who were so impressed with the mayor and what he said and the importance of transportation. with aviation, passenger rail, the surface transportation bill will be critical to have mayors
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involved, to help us sell this, first to constituents. cities itses in big is an easier sell to say to people we want to reduce condition -- congestion. we need your help also in educating members of congress. there are some members out there on both sides of the aisle, education is needed. my side of the aisle, there is our lot is to think the federal government has a role or we should not be spending money. on the other side, there is a reluctance to streamline things, to make sure we get these projects out there in the field and get them done quicker. time is money, and as mayors you live out there where the rubber meets the road. you understand how expensive it is when you put a dollar of federal money into a project. it takes longer and it costs you a lot more money. i need you on both sides to help me drive those forms so we can do more with the dollars we have and make sure we are educating
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those on my side that there is a fundamental role in the federal government is involved with the state and locals out there. as we move forward, i cannot do this without your help. again, that is the big reason i'm here today, to enlist your help as we move forward, and reforms are needed, and we got to deal with the funding issue. what i have been saying to people, let's start first with what the problem is. let's make sure people understand what the problem is out there before we start talking about dollars and cents, because there is a lot of people who will recoil immediately. you have to make them understand there is a need out there. the funding comes a byproduct. once people understand there is congestion here, ridges there systems, -- transit
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and talking about competitive, making america competitive, creating jobs, are all essential to this effort. when you come up to the hill, i encourage you, do not leave with money, but also if you come to the hill, it would be great if there is a mayor coming into the city where you bring a manufacturer from the city. so the member is not just hearing from a mayor, coming to washington, saying you need to fund this, because and a lot of people in washington do not want to hear it. front,come as a united the mayor, trucking company, any factual verse, thanks in the city who say how important it is, because they want to make loans, that is that kind of powerful message you want to bring to a member of congress on both sides, the importance of how to fund it, how we need reforms to move forward. i'm here to ask for your help today. i look forward to working with
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you and making sure we continue to have a robust transportation system, because all of us depend on it and it will improve all keepcans' lives and america a prosperous place. thank you for having me here. thank you for listening to me. i look forward to engaging with you on issues that are so important to our constituents. thank you very much. [applause] >> it is really an honor for us to have a champion. he is talking about reforms, he go tous the script, we the hill, we bring people who tell our story, we give it a compelling case, and we know the funding is there.
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so one more round of applause for chairman shuster. he embodies what i partisanship is truly about. this organization does as well. to begin this session, i would now like to report on the incredible progress we have made with their dollar wise campaign. is financial literacy, it dedicated to helping all americans have a sound financial future. investingimportant in in home, business, or retirement. this year dollar wise is awarding grants to eight cities for the work they are doing around summer youth jobs, bringing the total to 53 since the program started. the summer youth campaign encourages all cities to incorporate financial education into your summer youth jobs programs. many of you already do it. we send a special thanks to bank of america searchable foundation
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for their commitment. steve fitzgerald to join me on the stage for our award presentation. let's give steve a round of applause. [applause] thank you, mayor johnson, and on behalf on bank of america, we are so thrilled to be the founding sponsor of dollar wise and working so closely with the partnerships that we established the early across our country with the mayors' offices and the countless nonprofits and organizations you work with really to connect our resources with the important work around housing, and the critical issues that face our communities across the country. so it is partnerships like dollar wise that allow us to create the foundation and the pathway for opportunity, for
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dreams, and to have individual young men and women realize the potential and the possibilities that come with programs like dollar wise. whether it is the individual, the young men or women, who has landed their first paycheck and really now understand the possibilities, but also the responsibilities that come with that first paycheck, either it is the families looking at putting their first daughter or son, grandson, niece, nephew in college and taking a pathway to success that a program like i'll are wise equips those individuals with. or whether it is creating the opportunity for individuals to and thed the jobs programs that allow them to succeed. that fundamental foundation is
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created through partnerships like dollar wise. bank of america for 10 years has been proud to be partners with the u.s. conference of mayors. we are proud of the partnerships we made locally. we want to congratulate the most recent sapience of the dollar wise program, and we look forward to following the successes this year, and i want to say thank you for the opportunity and look forward to continuing this great opportunity with the u.s. conference of mayors. so thank you very much. [applause] >> at this time it is my honor to recognize the five mayors that have won the summer youth winners award. after these five come up, we round of them a big applause. the first city that has won his boston. walsh and the program has
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placed over 10,000 jobs in 2013. rahmecond city is chicago, emanuel, whose program provided opportunities to 20,000 youth pastor. the third winner, the mayor of hattiesburg, whose summer youth employer program will provide youth access to the fdic money smarter:. we also have the mayor of the city of kansas city, whose bright future internship program will offer a literacy program. mayor is the mayor of tacoma. she has a program called the summer youth employment program which develops facility to the mobile app. can we give all five of those mayors a round of applause. [applause] talks that heys
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gets awards, but no money associated with it. these mayors are all owing to get $4000. you just got a nice placket trophy, though. plaque and trophy, though. this summer we want all mayors to encourage young people to participate. the kids win prizes after competing with financial literacy online. last summer we had 15,000 youth participate in 15 cities. this year we want to double it. 30 cities and 3000 youth. are encouraged to harm or youth in 2014. we want to thank you for that. we did a poll, and only 30% of businesses higher summer youth. we know we can do better than that. our second annual publication, partnership view,
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provides examples with how mayors and partner with businesses in your computer the -- community. let's give those mayors one more round of applause. [applause] to the second group, we are now going to announce the innovation grant winners. this group gets more than $4000. they get $15,000. you have a nice piece of art. [laughter] first winner is not with us today. is mayor michael raleigh from the city of dallas. he will host our summer meeting. he was yesterday and today great job, and with this strong support, mayor rawlings will use its grant to provide financial literacy to the local allis public library. let's give him a round of applause.
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[applause] does he get the check, since he is here? the next two mayors are here, and i will invite them up. our second innovation grant goes to mayor karen freeman wilson from gary, indiana. come on up. [applause] with the strong support of the mayor, she has been a critical job with providing training to youth and parents throughout the city by creating a mobile financial literacy lab that visits libraries and public housing. congratulations. awesome. [applause]
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>> good morning. ortainly, your president first vice president, mayor johnson, and to the u.s. anderence of mayors board member, and to bank of america and the dollar wise program, i would like to thank you on behalf of of the city and citizens of gary, indiana. like so many of you know, the investment in our youth, not only is our responsibility, but for us topportunity ensure a brighter future for our communities. so on behalf of our youth services bureau and the citizens of gary, indiana, i thank you for this opportunity. money, keep the art, and we will be good. thank you. [applause]
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all right. our third grant goes to a dear alvin brown from the city of jacksonville. , on up, mayor brown. --, on up, mayor brown. jacksonville provides 20,000 hours of financial education for its citizens during moneywise we, with funding. it will increase that number to 25,000 hours. one more round of applause for mayor brown. [applause]
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>> thank you, vice president johnson, and thank you to bank of america, and thank you to the u.s. conference of mayors. i believe when we empower young people with the tools and resources to improve their lives , we are going to be successful. we created a whole week of moneywise with working with not just the youth, but with families, educating them and working with all the financial institutions. you have every bank in jacksonville working with us, the colleges and universities working with parents, single parent and families all across the city, every year, trying to make sure that they are strong when it comes to their finances. we know when they are strong, and you balance your budget, good things happen. i believe there is tremendous power when people come together around an issue that is clear,
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because that is just, any purpose that is righteous. bereniceretty sick -- king. so thank you, to the u.s. conference of mayors. [applause] >> all right. as we have done throughout the meetings, we have brought new mayors of and allowed them to tell a little about their story and their city. i am very pleased to call up fellow californian up to a podium. she is a bright young mayor to watch, the youngest mayor ever to be elected in the city of compton. she beat out 12 other candidates in her 2013 election, and we are brown towelcome asia the podium. [applause] >> good morning, everyone.
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i would like to take an the entire to thank u.s. conference of mayors team for making this winter session an amazing experience. the dream team known as the u.s. conference of mayors staff -- [applause] qt organization provides and a with the president of the united states, president obama? as the president is just cool in person as he is on tv, by the way. i would like to get a big thanks vicer president, presidents, and the entire u.s. conference of mayors executive board. we thank you for your leadership. i am honored to bring you greetings from compton. content is a special place -- compton is a special place. for a city of 100,000 residents,
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most people in the united states of yo have heard of compton. for those of you who have visited, you are aware our committee is much more than hip- hop. we are home to houses of hard- working families who want the same thing that all people want. equal access to the american dream. safe neighborhoods. rate schools. clean and paved streets. access to fresh food. affordable health care. transit networks. our city has its challenges, but this is not part of the presentation where i give you a dozen steps. withministration is tasked rebuilding the city from the ground up. of the past six months have been able to build partnerships with university of southern california. also other institute to begin to
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strategize on how to begin programs that target and identify and provide technical assistance to nonprofits. influence ined sharing my vision for the city of compton. now we are connecting partnerships with stem, to prepare our kids for college and a great career path. i have decided to tackle tough issues first to build a strong foundation for growth. initiatives are on public safety, economic development, coalition building, and public health. we have implemented new policies focusing on city reform. also economic develop it and reducemake -- our unemployment rate. that is more than double the
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state and national average. to tackle crime, i have started a new policing task force that focuses on gang prevention and human trafficking in the city of compton and educating our parents on the dangers that our kids face today. it is much different growing up in america than 10 years ago. for the first time, all law enforcement agencies, school officials, county services, agencies and federal and county are working together to find resources and get big results. from new policies enabling us to illegaln a hub for activity, and to combat human tourists do because not rent hotels for just one hour. in 2013 we have had one of the safest years in the last decade.
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city's to rebrand the image and share the fact that compton is the home to torture 500 countries -- to fortune 500 come. -- companies. 500 one dozen fortune companies, we have our own community college. beautiful neighborhoods and high -performing elementary schools. 10 milesghbors located south of los angeles, 10 miles east of lax, and my mission is to combat the perception and illuminate the fact that educational giants, cultural pioneers and innovators have hailed and still come from compton. thank you all, and god bless.
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[applause] she has already been rebranded compton. thank you so much. specialave another opportunity. we have another cabinet secretary who has come to be with us. yesterday we were at the white house, with the labor secretary and the secretary of education and the secretary of transportation, the secretary of hhs, hud, and now we have somebody that is making his first public appearance -- i should not say his first public appearance -- but one of his first speeches since he has taken his position. we are honored to have jeh johnson, the secretary of homeland security, here today. let's give him a round of applause before we bring him up. [applause] we want you to feel the love
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before you get up here. what is incredible is we see this as a recognition of the critical roles mayors are playing and first responders. the vast majority of whom work for local government. we play a role ensuring safety and security in our cities and nations. ticket terry johnson came to homeland security -- secretary johnson came to homeland security from the -- he oversaw the development of many aspects of our nation cost anti-terrorism policies, and co-authored the report that paved the way for repeal of don't ask don't tell. the secretary also has background in service to america 's largest cities, having served as an assistant u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york. secretary, we look forward to hearing your remarks. these, up and get a love welcome .rom your mayors
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-- and get a loveup welcome from your mayors. [applause] thank you very much, mayor johnson. you are correct, that this is one of my first public speeches. i have been in office a month. among friends,e among mayors. thatw already about my job i will not go many places where i can feel the love, that you put it. this is a terrific organization because you represent america's cities, large and small. you here to tell you that are vital partners to the with the department
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of homeland security, and with me, as long as i am secretary. i thought i would use that time to share with you some of my priorities, some of the prior days of the department of homeland security, but also spend minutes talking about who i am, to introduce myself to you. mayor,heard from the first of all, by the way, i went to morehouse college -- [applause] it is always amazing to me wherever i go i run into people or either are morehouse men are married to morehouse men. morehouse college is everywhere. every time i come to a place like this, it makes me feel old because i asked what class are i am class1992, and of 1979. the mayor pointed out i was a federal prosecutor for three years in the southern district
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of new york in new york city. i did that relatively early in my career. it was a terrific job. how many in this room have been prosecutors as some point in your careers? i see couple of hands. when i became an assistant united states attorney, it was my opportunity to learn how to be a trial warrior. i look forward to my first trial, and i had written this really fantastic opening statement. it was a small drug case it is the trial of the century. i was looking forward to getting into the courtroom, talking to the jury for the first time, getting out there and finally trying i first case, and i have developed this colorful opening statement. my supervisors said when you are representing government and your the prosecutor, we always give the same standard opening
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statement, which i thought was very interesting. first thing you do when you give an opening statement is use a -- you leave the lectern, you go over the defendant, at the defense table, and you point at the defendant and you say that man there sold drugs on the corner of 9th avenue and 20 eight st in may 1989 and i will show you how we did it. to the lectern and introduce yourself. johnson, i am representing the government. every single assertion of fact that you get in an opening statement has to begin with the words the evidence will show, the evidence will show. and so then you get to the end of your opening statement. youret to the end of opening statement, and you say, ladies and gentlemen, in conclusion, i want you to do three things. i want you to listen to the
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evidence in this trial, i want you to listen to the law as the judge instruction, and i want you to use your common sense. if you use your common sense i am confident you will find defendant will take. i did at 12 times in three years. it was beat into me. i never varied. i left the u.s. attorneys office and went to private practice, part of my private practice was to be a criminal defense lawyer. and so that was my opportunity, to finally be unshackled, to be colorful, and follow all my instincts to be a trial lawyer. this was a pro bono case. it was a drug case. the defendant, the client, was intrial for selling drugs upper manhattan. he spoke spanish, did not begin word of english, and through a translator i said to him, now, the prosecutor, when he gets up,
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he is going to point at you. i want you to be prepared for that, because i remove the when i did that to defendants, he broke down crying. he started crying. i said to my client, the prosecutor is going to point at you, and a trial is an emotional experience. sometimes it cannot control yourself. if you need to let your emotions go, go with it. right on cue, the prosecutor went over and pointed at the defendant, and right on cue the defendant started to cry, and the prosecutor did the normal standard opening statement, the evidence will show, the evidence will show,, and then i got up there. i walked over to the defendant. i put my hands on the shoulders, and i said, ladies and gentlemen, this poor hand is not understand a single word i am saying. this is around the time that the .j. trial ended.
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i gave a terrific opening statement. i was no longer looking at my notes. i was talking directly to the jury. i went on autopilot. i was up. soght, i was -- i was carried away, i do not know how to end. i said, and ladies and gentlemen, i want you to do three things -- [laughter] i want you to listen to the evidence, i want you to listen to the law, and i want you to use your common sense, and if you do all three things, i am confident that you will find the defendant guilty as charged. [laughter] the court reporter who was sitting about as far away as me as mayor johnson is said, i think you meant not guilty. guilty.ot and the trial transcript said not guilty as charged. i served briefly as general counsel for the department of 1999,r force, 1998,
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2000, to the end of the clinton administration. i was present in manhattan on september 11, 2001, it happened to be my birthday. i was an eyewitness to the collapse of the towers. i was an eyewitness to the impact of the second aircraft. like millions of others that they, i was shocked, devastated, i wanted to do something. i determined then that if i had the opportunity, i would return to public service, return to national security. president obama asked me to return to washington as general counsel of the department of defense, which i did. i was confirmed, sworn in in february 2009. it was an incredible four-year ride. i was witness to many historic events.
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the mayor pointed out the repeal of don't ask don't tell. he made some strides in counterterrorism. i will never forget the day we 2011,osama bin laden, and brought justice to him. [applause] i company the president four days later to manhattan to visit with the families of the victims of 9/11. and what was amazing to me, i encountered many of my neighbors from montclair, new jersey, people that i knew -- they needed closure, and the bin laden raid provided closure to them, and it provided closure for me in certain respects. i left a job at the end of 2012 and went back to private law practice, thinking i was done. i had the opportunity when i was asked to come back to public
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service as secretary of homeland security, a job i was not anticipating being asked to do. but i believe in the homeland security mission. now, some of you in the room might be thinking, he is just a fed. what does he know about the challenges of being a mayor of a large or small city? i am proud to say that i am a product of the cities and towns of this country. i was born in new york city, lived in manhattan for 18 years. the mayor of compton mentioned the importance of light rail, public transportation. i'm a huge, huge fan of public transportation. i carry one of these around in my wallet from new york city. i have written on every single subway line in new york city except the franklin avenue shuttle. every single subway line.
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i'm a huge fan of subways. ofrew up in the town poughkeepsie, new york, which contains within it as the city -- my dad was an architect in poughkeepsie, new york. he designed the mall that replaced main street in poughkeepsie, new york. he was part of the revitalization of downtown to keep sea in the 1970's. downtown poughkeepsie in the 1970's. my hometown is montclair. they say all politics is local. i know from my own experience that insofar as the american public is concerned, most of government is local. a get-together at our home in new jersey for a candidate for congress so that my neighbors could come here and -- the issues the candidate was
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running on. the next night my neighbor had the neighbor -- then mayor of montclair to my house. i had to scratch and scrape to get a handful of people. was packed,he house because everybody knows the importance that mayors play in their everyday life. that, theficant than message that i would like to present to you today is that the homeland security mission of the u.s. government is evolving, and this is something i believe. it is evolving to the point where our partnerships with state and local governments, with mayors, with district attorneys, with police commissioners, with sheriff's is becoming more and more important. in the coming weeks i will be laying out a vision for homeland
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security that will on the important work of my predecessors and the relationships with state and local governments that they have forged. a top priority of mine is to not only sustain those relationships, but to further strengthen our partnerships with the men and women in this room who are mayors. the mission of the department of homeland security are guarding against terrorism, securing our borders, enforcing our nation's immigration laws, safeguarding cyberspace, and critical infrastructure, in partnerships with the preference -- private sector and emergency fairness in at every level. as part of that, the department of homeland security must have as a top priority -- does have and will continue to have strengthening state and local capabilities to enhance our collective ability to keep the
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homeland, our communities, your cities and the american people safe. i just returned from south texas earlier this week, and the border.-- mexico during my visits, i had occasion to not only spend time with border patrol officials, agents, but i encountered four mayors texase city manager from towns and arizona towns. that is critical to my work that i develop those relationships. one of the most important ways that we work with state and local governments is through stronger information sharing. weitionally, through grants, better enable you to be prepared for some of the things that the department of homeland security
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must move forward on. recent events like the shooting at the washington navy yard and the boston marathon bombing remind us that we continue to ,onfront a dangerous world where information sharing, collaboration, trust, and -- have never been more important. we have significantly improved our ability and information sharing with you, and we will continue to move in that direction. i am committed to making this happen. a cornerstone of that effort is support for state and major urban area fusion centers among which i am sure you are familiar with. he have employed 96 officer of intelligence and analysis personnel to fusion centers throughout the country. we support all this work, as i mentioned, additionally, with grants. i was pleased to learn that the u.s. conference of mayors has as one of its priorities cyber
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security, dealing with cyber threats. that is one of my priorities, one of the missions of the department of homeland security, cyber security. we are glad to know that this is one of your priorities oas well. these are threats to our communities across the country, and we must work together to confront the cyber security threats. know that the u.s. conference of mayors has been a strong supporter and vocal proponent for the need for comprehensive commonsense immigration reform. i would like to say a few words about that. [applause] commonsense immigration reform is supported by the u.s. conference of mayors, businesses , and if polls are to be believed, the majority of the american people. is inseparable
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borderome it -- v security is inseparable from homeland security, promoting the lawful flow of trade and travel through airports, cities and other communities. over the past four years dhs has made his circuit investments at borders in terms of manpower, comprehensive immigration reform, and we will add more to that effort. comprehensive immigration reform will also promote a more effective and efficient system for enforcing our immigration laws. and should include an earned path to citizenship for the approximately 11 .5 million undocumented immigrants present in this country, something like 86% of whom have been here almost 10 years.
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citizenshipth to for those currently present in ins country is a matter of my view homeland security, to encourage people to come out from the shadows, to be accountable, to participate in the american experience, the american society. it is also frankly in my judgment a matter of who we are as americans, to offer the opportunity to does who want to be citizens, who earned the right to be citizens, who are present in this country, many of whom who came here as children to have the opportunity that we all have to try to become american citizens. just before i came here i swore virginia at ahern
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naturalization ceremony for 38 americans, including members of the armed forces. it was probably the best thing that i do in my job. a lot of love in that room as well, and not for the secretary of homeland security, and for andfamilies who love support those who have done what it takes to become americans. .hat is part of who we are as americans, it is part of who we are and error heritage. and i believe comprehensive immigration reform should include the opportunity for those present in this country who earn it and who are entitled to it to become citizens. so we must in my view, as a matter of homeland security and as a matter of who we are as americans, address comprehensive common sense immigration reform
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and address it this year. like tousion i would point out that the department of homeland security values its relationship with you. as i have tried to say here, it mission evolves in washington, we are becoming more and more dependent on a strong working relationship with a mayors in this room. i look forward to working with many of you, as i'm secretary, meeting with you in your cities and towns, and i salute you for all the terrific work that you do. thank you very much. [applause]
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[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] all right, we thank you very much. we wish you well, and we're showing you love and we know that we are going to build a great relationship, and one day he will say you're guilty as charged, too. one more round of applause. [applause] all right. we are now going to announce another very exciting opportunity to recognize our mayors. we have a partnership with scott's miracle gro. this year's imprint will receive three grants. about $40,000. miracle gro, thank you very much. rant fundede construction for the first phase
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of a beautiful garden in sacramento. it was a partnership with alice waters and the founder of the schoolyard. this project includes a garden, kitchen classroom, integrated curriculum, and a student-run cafeteria. gro, our kidscle are becoming learners and taking care of their environment. they grow 1000 gardens and green space grant award program was created to promote and recognize the leadership of mayors in this area. let me call id or friends to the call my gearme front of the stage so she can introduce the recipients. come on up. [applause] thank you, mayor johnson, and good morning to all of our mayors and guests there today. on behalf of my colleagues, i
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appreciate you fighting us and being a part of this winter meeting. 2014 march the third year of the partnership with conference of mayors. when we started working, our goal was simple -- how could we get more green spaces and gardens into cities across the country? to the growing thousand green space program, we have been able to a commerce this. over the last two years, scott's and the conference of mayors, we have traveled across the country working with mayors and cities to get these green spaces into much-needed areas. in 2013 we went from california to connecticut, but, to texas, and also ohio. grow one thousand project including helping residents in tuscaloosa celebrate the rebirth of their city after a devastating tornado with a new green space. we step was a school garden in connecticut that was for
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cultural understanding and promoting kids eating healthy. we established an expanded a children's garden in fort worth, texas, and we have reclaimed a part of the cincinnati river way that had just been devastated by pollution with the new natural walkway. as the mayor noted, we are giving high school students at sacramento high a chance to learn how to eat healthy and live better to gardening. see the impacts of how these gardens and green spaces are making in your communities. to all the mayors that we work with, we want to thank you for inviting us to your cities. i have to say every time i leave a city, i feel i want to be a mayor when i grow up, because you guys are truly rock stars, but i guess people start complaining that my garbage did not get picked up. filled are just truly with passion and commitment in how you are trying to make all making theirs
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lives better. it is commendable. noted, weor johnson do have some exciting program enhancements for this year. we are proud to announce that our grants are expanding to a total of $40,000, and that will be over three years. we want to make sure that all of the gardens and green spaces we are working on have a strong footing, and this is our way to do that. in addition, we are going to be announcing a grow 1000 committed he garden academy, so each of our winners, we will be bringing different resources to your community to talk about best practices for gardening and green spaces. that is an addition that we are excited about this year. we are looking at the next generation of gardeners and students. i do not know if you have had a chance to stop by the mirror: - - miracle gro exhibit.
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this is getting students and school to learn about growing and eating healthy vegetables. each of our winners this year are going to get a unit to take back to their cities, and we are excited about how we might be able to work with more of our cities to get these gardens in the schools. before we go on with announcing the winners, i want to thank tom cochran and the leadership of the conference of mayors. into ourst getting third year of the partnership, but it has been a wonderful relationship, and we are truly excited about how we are going to continue this over the next few years. on to our grants. we want to thank all the mayors who applied. we gave our judges are worker out -- a workout this year. we are excited to see the robust projects that are taking place in your cities and communities. thank you again for participating. if you can also squeeze hold your applause to the end, and we
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will present a check, and do a group photo. the grow 1000 recipients are mesa, arizona, and botanicals walkway. florida, a youth farm. minneapolis, minnesota, a garden. florida, the intergenerational fruit and vegetable garden. houston, texas, the gabriella center for early childhood education garden natural playground. mayors, please come to the stage, and congratulations. [applause]
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>> all right, good? moreight, let's get applause for miracle grow and our mirrors in our cities. cities-- -- in our mayors in our cities. we will not bring up our tosca lube the mayor, who will be about preparedness in our cities. >> good morning. most days in tuscaloosa, my constituents would consider this to be a disaster.


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